Looking into the crystal ball is not just for fortune tellers, and the predictions of many consulting companies can translate into big money. Frost & Sullivan is one such consultant, and they’ve made some bold predictions for the global healthcare industry, an area they say will grow by almost 5 percent in 2018.

“Even though 2017 was a year full of spectacular advancements in healthcare, 2018 will be the year of digital health technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Medical Things, big data analytics and robotics,” says Frost & Sullivan Transformational Health industry analyst Kamaljit Behera.

Here are some of the major highlights from Frost & Sullivan’s report on healthcare in 2018.

A cloudy future

The “cloud” refers to data stored on remote servers that is easily accessible from multiple devices. Consumers have been exposed to the cloud through storage of documents, music and photos. Now, Frost & Sullivan predict increasing adoption among medical technology vendors. The results of this will be twofold. First, the amount of storage available to the healthcare sector will expand dramatically. Second, cloud-based image diagnosis should be poised to take off, resulting in a more efficient healthcare system as images are easily shared among geographically separate healthcare professionals.

More technology and more risk

Fans of science fiction may be pleased to know that robotics for surgery and care assistance will attain high penetration this year. But they may be dismayed that our reliance on technology is placing the healthcare industry at growing risk of cyber-attacks, which are expected to double over 2018.

“Alexa, what’s my blood pressure?”

Large tech companies are becoming ingrained in our daily lives, and we may well see this trend extend to our health. Frost & Sullivan’s report notes: “Non-traditional players like Amazon, Apple, Google and IBM will begin to have a tangible implication in the healthcare ecosystem. Competing outside their conventional area, these organizations are pushing traditional healthcare companies to break their main business model and make healthcare more accessible, affordable and consumer-centric.” The report concludes that these new entrants will bring digital therapeutics and health apps to the market via the FDA’s fast-track program.

A new model for wellness

Wellness programs will become smarter and increasingly reliant on data-driven insights to calculate premiums for health plans. Frost & Sullivan believe that incentives tied to these programs will become the norm, and in turn, this may push participants to lead healthier lives.

Advances in cancer treatment

A newly developed approach is promising some hope in the fight against cancer. CAR T-cell therapy uses immune cells taken from the patient’s own body, which are then genetically engineered to recognize and kill tumour cells after reintroduction into the patient. “In the next few years I think we’re going to see dramatic progress and push the boundaries of what many people thought was possible with these adoptive cell transfer–based treatments,” says Steven Rosenberg, whose lab was one of the first to pioneer the approach.

To access an executive summary of the report, click here.

 

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